Boeing whacked by coronavirus, 737 MAX grounding

COVID-19 is impacting 'every aspect' of business

Boeing posted a loss in the first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic and the grounding of the 737 MAX hammered sales.

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The Chicago-based aerospace giant lost $641 million, or $1.11 per share, as revenue fell 26 percent to $16.9 billion. The adjusted loss of $1.70 a share fell short of the $1.61 loss that analysts surveyed by Refintiiv were expecting.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our business, including airline customer demand, production continuity and supply-chain stability,” CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. He added Boeing is “progressing toward the safe return to service of the 737 MAX.”

Boeing's operating cash flow fell by $4.3 billion during the quarter. Total cash increased by $15.5 billion, mostly due to total debt rising to $38.9 billion from $27.3 billion.

Commercial airplane revenue totaled $6.21 billion, down 48 percent year-over-year, as the number of aircraft delivered fell to 50 from 149 due to the grounding of the 737 MAX. COVID-19 has adversely affected the planned production ramp for the aircraft.

Boeing expects production of the 737 Max to begin at low rates in 2020 and gradually increase to 31 per month during 2021. The company reduced production rates for its 787 and 777 aircraft.

The company has a backlog of $439 billion and more than 5,000 commercial aircraft.

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Boeing shares were down 60 percent this year through Tuesday, trailing the S&P 500's 11 percent decline.